The City of Magic The atmosphere of Prague has always had something surreal about it. Ever since the sixteenth century when Emperor Rudolf II made the city a centre for magic, alchemy, cabalism and the occult, it has spawned and inspired artists and mystics all over the world. Surrealist supremo Andr Breton himself named the city "The City of Magic," and Franz Kafka also distilled the city in some sense in all of his work.

Visitiors of Prague can have a hard time imagining how the city was pre-1989. Gloomy streets where people waited in line for their rations of a tin of ham or a bottle of ersatz Coke and hotels with two pricelists: one for people of the Warsaw Pact nations, and one for the capitalists, the latter often 6 to 8 times as expensive. Freedom has changed a lot of things. Apart from being historical, as always, Prague is now also entertaining and accessible. Being the only Central European capital that escaped the bombing during WWII, its architecture is well preserved, dating back to the late 12th century. You will notice a mixed ambience between Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, rococo and Art Noveau styles, the latter being the major one. In fact, the Czech artist Alfonse Mucha, the most imitated Art Noveau artist of all time has a museum dedicated to his works in the heart of the city.

What so see

Prague is big with its 1,2 million inhabitants, and for a short stay it is advicable to stick to the small old center. The Castle and the Jewish Quarter are the two sights that demand some brain activity, so consider doing those first. The Old Town, Charles Brigde and The Little Quarter provide good scenery for evening walks.

Charles Bridge (Karluv Most)
Commissioned by the Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV in 1357, this bridge was Pragues only one corssing the Vlatva River until 1850. The bridge tower, considered the finest Gothic gates anywhere, offers a splendid view of the city. The river Vltava divides the city in west (the castle and Little Quarter) and east (train station, Old Town, New Town). Old Town Square (Staromestsk Nmst) This square has been a market square since the 11th century, today replaced by souvenier hustlers and noisy cafs. In the middle you will see the Hus Memorial symbolizing the struggle for Czech freedom. From the square you can also gaze upon all the different architecture styles that the city offers.

Prague Castle (Prazsky Hrad)
This huge castle have been the seat for Czech rulers for over a thousand years. It is huge and confusing and can easily swallow you for a whole day. To get the best of it focus at visiting Castle Square, St. Vitus Cathedral, Old Royal Palace, Basilica of St. George, the Golden Lane and the splendig little toy museum. The Jewish Quarter (Josefov)

An open-air museums that movingly tells the story of the Jews of this region. Many consider this the main Jewish sight in Europe. Six sighs over an three block area makes up the Museum, and is paid as one ticket. The ticket comes with a nice little map so that you can find your way through. Be aware that Prague is a good city for walking, but the confusion can sometimes be great. If you have a time limit, bring a map to ease your nerves. The public transport system is good, and especially the buses are very cheap.

Where to get stuffed

To eat cheap and good, always get away from the tourist areas. And if you find a place without an english menu, you are guaranteed a Czech meal. Plzensk Restaurace u Dvou Kocek
Typical Czech pub wher cheap and down-to-it local food and beer. Cesk Kuchyne
Blue-collar cafeteria serving old Czech cuicine to local patrons. No english menu inside, so be prepared for surprises! Very cheap.

Where to shake your booty

Roxy Bar
Near the main square. Dj till night. Locals and Turist animated this club. Lucerna Music Bar Offering disco partys and 80's party every friday and saturday. Hip and trendy but still cheap, and the atmosphere is welcoming as wel! MaloTransk Beseda

Music Club
Live music every night, with a lot of Pragues best groups

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